Toolkit for doctors new to the UK

Setting up in the UK

Location: UK International
Audience: International doctors All doctors
Updated: Monday 6 June 2022
Topics: International doctors

This page details how to get started in the UK, including tips to settle in your new job, get the most out of living in a new country and practical tips to set up a bank account and find somewhere to live.


Settle in at work

  • Do be punctual for appointments or work. Punctuality is key. Arrive at least twenty minutes before your shift is due to start. Remember that you may have to stay late.
  • Do stay up-to-date with current research and practices in your chosen field of medicine. Doing a clinical attachment is one way of keeping abreast.
  • Attending career fairs, such as the BMJ career fair may also be beneficial.
  • Do consider shadowing a colleague for three to four weeks. Ensure you get a thorough induction from your seniors or colleagues.
  • Do learn common terms in medical vocabulary.
  • Do read the hospital’s guidelines and understand the computer system before starting your job.
  • Do learn how a medical history is taken and the procedure for documenting this in your hospital.


Have a good work-life balance

  • Do explore the country you have moved to. You may come across other areas of the UK you might want to work.
  • Do go to local fairs or festivals and socialise. You will get to know the local people and learn things that could save you time and money.
  • Do remember that the UK is rich in a mix of cultures and societies.
  • Do look around and you will find things that you used to get back home.
  • Do try to enjoy your working life. Go out and meet as many people as you can in your work place and outside it. Having some form of a hobby is important.
  • Do look out for good deals on the internet, be it for a matinee show at the theatre or a trip to the zoo.
  • Do maintain contact with friends and family back home. Their support is invaluable at a time when you are trying to settle into a new country. Pre-paid sim cards, and Skype, are available free of charge and provide good value for money to call back home. 


Get started

Setting up a bank account

Shop around for a bank account that suits you and your circumstances, eg how much it costs to transfer money abroad, if you plan on doing so.

To open an account you will need:

  • current passport
  • biometric resident permit
  • valid visa (for those from outside the EEA)
  • bank statement from the past three months
  • proof of address in the UK or abroad (check with your bank).

Find more information in England, in Scotland or in Northern Ireland.

Finding somewhere to rent

Once you have your job offer and visa, you can start looking for somewhere to rent. You can search online for property search websites, or for estate agents in the area. You will then be able to view some properties. To rent, you will need:

  • a deposit - usually the cost of one to three months rent
  • other admin fees - a breakdown of all fees should be clearly visible to you on the agent's website
  • proof of identity, immigration status and employment status.

Find more information in England, in Scotland or in Northern Ireland.

Buying a house

Whether you have been here for a while or have just arrived, you may prefer to be paying money into a mortgage rather than into rent.

Buying a house is a big task that requires lots of research on location, costs and mortgages.

Find more information in England, in Scotland or in Northern Ireland to get started.